after midnight

 

shutterstock (1)

 

I miss him most in the nighttime, of course. That’s when he would call, for years, for years he would get up before dawn and call. It was always around midnight here. It was like lying next to him, like kissing him goodnight, our voices, our desires, dripping onto our pillows. Too often I stayed up too late, it seemed I was always exhausted at work. We were an addiction that neither could quit. Until he started tumbling, but really what does it matter when? Towards the end of the affair, he was getting up to call less and less. He asked me to call and wake him and he would call me back, and he never seemed to mind getting up, but maybe he was already up, maybe just finishing a conversation with one of his other ladies. I wonder what he and these women talk about? I wonder if they phone fuck like we did? We were very dirty and we were very hungry and the phone was no obstacle. I’ve seen pictures of some these women and know of their lifestyles and situations—I really don’t think he is doing to these women what he did to me, and I’m certain they could never play the whore as well as I did. But I’m a fool, and what do I know? Jesus. Over the moon and back over the phone.

 

photo credit: theodysseyonline.com

 

patrick & co.

 

If you have been following this blog, you may remember my post on my second love, J. Patrick Brown. If you did not read the original post on Mr. Brown, please read below.

 

pinterest

 

Last weekend, I had the enormous pleasure of having lunch and visiting with my second love, Patrick Brown. In my first post on Mr. Brown, I referred to him as somewhat alien, as innocent and seemingly out of place in this contemporary world, a gentleman that I still cared for deeply, but one I could not easily relate to—not the case, this go-round. Patrick could not have been more vibrant, he could not have been anything less than the charming southerner he is, he could not have been any more attuned to his environment. And what brought about this change, that he readily acknowledged, was a dog. A tiny little creature named Corky—a purse puppy, I thought prior to meeting the pet, a silly little accessory that could easily make Patrick’s proclivity to isolate a little more comfortable. Not so. “Corky” has opened up an entirely new world for Patrick—the Manhattan dog-loving world, the pet owner society and social club where everybody knows your dog’s, and your name. Corky is Patrick’s wing man, or as I recently read, wing-mutt.

But back to Patrick—my second love was attentive, generous, he asked questions and waited for the answers, he told me stories about us that I had no recollection of, he confirmed our history and sealed our love. He was humorous without being sarcastic, he was joyful, spiritual, he paid attention to life but didn’t condemn nor judge. For lack of better wording, he was a breath of fresh air, yet relevant in his world and in mine. He inspired me—inspired me to be a better person, a better friend, to approach challenges with thoughtful consideration and not with my typical bullish, fuck you modus operandi. Was this all Corky’s doing? Maybe, probably, I don’t know, Pat was always sweet and kind and good. But pets are very powerful partners, affecting us in a myriad of ways, taking us out of our own bullshit. And although I don’t think that Patrick was mired in bullshit, he did seem to be stuck in something, a time-warp, an innocence that was inhibiting—a place that I was not privy to. Not any more. We reconnected, were reunited—and I fell in love for the second time with my second love. Kisses to you, Corky, and my dear, dear friend, J. Patrick Brown.

 

photo credit: pinterest – and no, that is not my friend with the dog on his back, but I did think the picture was kind of creepy/cute.

 

my second love

 

princess gown

 

weddbook

 

I have a white cotton nightgown, not quite like the one in the photo but close. I call it my princess gown. What Gwyneth Paltrow would wear in a medieval, romantic comedy. It’s beautiful. The neckline on my gown is slightly lower, with pink, embroidered flowers that extend to the navel, and is bell shaped so that the skirt flares out just above my knees. It has been worn just the right amount of time and the cotton is slightly sheer and soft, yet still shapely and swirly. I can only put it on after a shower and oiling, it deserves nothing less, and the magic begins as soon as the fabric hits my shoulders. I am now royalty, or at least the first maid, but I’m in the princess’s chambers, and men climb the walls just to get a look at me. When it is very dark, I sit on the balcony and watch the drunken lots stumble home to their wives, and smile as I climb into bed and hug my beautiful gown.

 

photo credit: weddbook.com

 

it’s only money, honey

 

gmhslancerledger

 

Excerpt below from an article by Tim Maurer, sent to me, interestingly, by my husband. Go figure. Full piece available at Forbes.

 

“Money destroys relationships because people can’t compete with money. Money, after all, doesn’t disappoint you, or express disappointment with you.

Money doesn’t remind us of our shortcomings and doesn’t appear to have any.

Money appears to promise to deliver all of our hopes and dreams. If only we just had more, all of our problems would disappear. All of our goals could be met.

It’s not that money is inherently bad or evil, but it’s not inherently good or righteous either. Money is simply a neutral tool that can be used well or poorly. It only has the value—the personality and the relational standing—that we give it.

One of the few criticisms I have of the movement to explore the psychology of money is its use of the phrase “your relationship with money.” Unintentionally, this gives money entirely too much credit by implying personhood. Indeed, if you have a “relationship” with money, you’re likely elevating it unnecessarily, and maybe even subconsciously devaluing those in your life who actually have a heartbeat.

How did we get here, to the point where we’ve personified—and in some cases deified—the “almighty” dollar? Yes, I’m sure it’s due to our culture of consumerism, the perpetual marketing machine, but I primarily blame institutions of which I am a part: the financial industry and the business that has grown up around consumer personal finance experts. In these realms, money has been made the goal or end, when in reality it is only the vehicle or means.”

 

photo credit: gmhslancerledger.com

 

from the tao

 

ezokatalog_pl

 

If you understand others, you are astute.

If you understand yourself, you are insightful.

 

If you master others, you are uncommonly forceful.

If you master yourself, you have uncommon inner strength.

 

If you know when you have enough, you are wealthy.

If you carry your intention to completion, you are resolute.

 

If you find your roots and nourish them, you will know longevity.

If you live a long creative life, you will leave an eternal legacy.

 

The Tao Te Ching, Verse 33, translation by Ralph Alan Dale

 

photo credit: ezokatalog.pl

 

imagination

 

myastrologycoach

 

I sat outside on my deck last night and did something that was extremely satisfying. I was alone, the moon was on the rise. I will tell you that I felt very good both physically and emotionally, before, during, and after my activity, but I’m not going to tell you what it was I was doing. I could have been smoking pot and listening to the teenagers laughing and flirting at the marina. I could have been eating a bucket of ice cream. I could have been doing nothing more than writing this post, or I could have been doing something far more decadent than indulging in dairy. I want you to imagine what it was I was doing. I suspect that some of your thoughts will truly have to do with figuring out my business, but I also think that your thoughts may be about you, and what you would have been doing, or what you would have wanted to be doing, or what you wanted me to be doing. Create something, imagine—and then really, what I was doing becomes your story, your imagination at work, not mine.

 

photo credit: myastrologycoach.com

 

father’s day

 

I have never re-posted an entry on this blog but am compelled to do so this father’s day. This post is one of my favorites, my father one of my favorite people. If you have read this before, I hope it refreshes a feeling, a shared sentiment. If you have not read this post, enjoy.

 

al

 

My father was my hero—for no heroic reason other than his fine character. He was a man cognizant of and humbled by his beginnings, yet propelled by possibility and a genuinely enthusiastic approach to life. He was a bleeding heart and a robust champion for the cause. He was a veteran, a highly regarded manpower specialist for the Department of Labor, and a public servant, serving on the local board of education and town council, both as councilman and deputy mayor. But he was a farmer at heart, and worked our small, 20 acres as if it were something grand—and I suppose to him it was. He planted and maintained a large vegetable garden, he grew, baled and sold hay, and sometime in the 60’s, he started raising Black Angus steer, 8 or 10 bulls a season, which he would grain feed, slaughter and sell. It was quite an undertaking, but it seemed to me both then and now, that he could pretty much take on anything. He was small and handsome, a compassionate and charismatic, mighty, little Russian.

He was an alcoholic, along with his father, his brother, one sister, and myself. When my grandfather would visit, the vodka bottle and two shot glasses were placed on the kitchen table, and my father and his father would polish off half a bottle, argue in Russian, make up, drink and argue some more. My father’s preferred liquor was scotch and a gallon bottle was kept under the kitchen sink, easy to get to and as commonplace as dish detergent. He took a hit on his way to catch the bus every morning, and some over ice on his way to the garden every evening. But my father was not a miserable or combative drunk, and other than the squabbles with my grandfather, he was a happy man. If pain lived behind the alcohol he never showed it to me. We never talked about our shared demons, about our independent recoveries, we never really talked about feelings at all—it was a time when you just didn’t do such things—but our connection of blood, love, and liquor, ran very, very deep.

My father lived fully, he loved people and purpose. He loved poker, football, cigars, antique shops, and he especially loved Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I have a FDR souvenir on my bookshelf that my father picked up somewhere—a sweet, little, black statue of the president’s beloved dog, Fala. Many years after my father passed away, I wrote a story for a creative writing class where the Fala statue saved a woman from a physically abusive husband by tormenting and eventually killing the husband in a very eerie, evil puppet kind of way. I must say that I am not and never have been in an abusive relationship, and I do not think that Fala, the loving embodiment of my honorable father, is sitting on my bookshelf to save me from harm, real or imagined. But I do believe that my father’s memory, his deep and lasting spirit, is there to champion and inspire me. Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. I love you.

 

Photo: I sadly can’t tell you anything about this photo. I don’t know where or when it was taken, and I have no idea what my father was commissioner of. My guess is that it had to do with one of his civic commitments, of which there were many.

 

the korean spa

 

thetravelersway

 

I visited my first Korean spa today and it was unlike any traditional spa I have ever been to. If you have not yet had this experience, I highly recommend it. My body and brain are profoundly grateful—the body grateful, of course, because of manipulation and massage, knot busting magic fingers, and intense exfoliation and beautifully silky skin; the brain grateful because my edge, my angst, my anxiety were sanded down to almost non-existent. And boy, do they sand, a scrub and buff extraordinaire.

You shower, you hot tub it, steam room, hot tub, all in preparation for the treatment. You are naked. Naked in a room full of other naked women. Tired bodies, tight bodies, wrinkled, stretched, bodies beaten by time and bodies that defy time. If you are concerned about being naked, if you anguish over the American definition of beauty and your shortcomings, don’t go—and what a shame that would be. It’s not a beauty spa. It’s where women work on your body parts, while something in their methodology, something in their Asian sensibility, works on your body image.

You lie on a slab like a wet fish (really, a massage table with a plastic top), the attendants salt you and oil you and flip you with spatula like hands—how they keep women from falling off the table is a testament to their strength and focus. They pour buckets of warm water on you and loofa you into submission, giving your body four distinct turns and working every angle, every crevice. You don’t have to buy the scrubbing piece. The older Korean clientele (and 90-95% of the clientele is Korean) sat on stools at a trough with a hand-held shower and sanded themselves—don’t do the self-serve, buy the scrub. The exfoliation over, you go back into the shower, then back to the table for the grand finale. They cover your face in cucumber and massage and oil and prod places that you didn’t know you had. They straddle your ass, they slap you and flip you some more and oil and massage your scalp and then wash your hair. It is amazing.

The spa building is three stories high and in a semi-industrial part of town. I’ve been told that other spas are similar in size and location, with some in strip malls. There are additional saunas, detox rooms, massage rooms and specialists. There is no spa music, no fancy-schmancy lotions to buy, no snooty young thing behind the reception counter. Everyone wears the same baggy shorts and tee shirt outfit handed to you at check-in. There is a restaurant, a tv room, relaxation rooms, and in a nod to that which is an integral part of both eastern and western cultures, a computer room. Find a Korean spa, take a friend, plan on spending hours—and incidentally, when you buy into the treatment, or any treatment, you can stay 24 hours. My companion had been to several Korean spas in Los Angeles, and this was her third trip to this particular NJ spa. My 2 1/2 hours there cost only $150.00. Worth every single, shiny, silky penny, and then some.

 

photo credit: thetravelersway.com